GCS Equality and Diversity Policy

Policy issued: Aug 2018

It is understood that, whilst comprehensive, the guidelines within this Policy are not exhaustive. They are designed to act as a guide to inform consultants freelancing for Gambling Counselling Services (GCS) whilst not detracting from their professional responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances, in any given situation and in accordance with current best practice. It is the responsibility of GCS to ensure that any amendments or changes to this policy are distributed to consultants working on our behalf. It is the consultant’s responsibility to acknowledge receipt and that these have been read and understood at the earliest opportunity.

This policy applies to all counsellors working on behalf of GCS, and all clients who use GCS’ services should be made aware of this policy, and their right to be treat equally.

GCS aims to have a culture of equality and diversity when appointing counsellors to work on behalf of them, and when providing access to clients to use the service. Equality between all different people is promoted. GCS aims to give equal opportunities to all people, including under-represented groups, and maintain a workplace that is free of all types of discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 lists certain characteristics that are protected, which are age, race, religion and beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, disability, gender reassignment, and pregnancy and maternity.

GCS will ensure that when appointing counsellors and during their time working on behalf of GCS, that all individuals are treated fairly, with no regards to any of the protected characteristics listed above, or any other characteristic which would not be appropriate to consider. GCS will give all counsellors and clients the same opportunities in the organisation and promote a working environment which will get the best out of both staff and clients.

All counsellors will have the same opportunities with regards to training and development and career progression, regardless of anything except their ability and relevance to the role which is being offered. All counsellors and clients will be treated fairly and equally, without any form of harassment or discrimination. All clients should have equal access to the services available from GCS. All people who have an interest in the organisation will be encouraged to contribute to helping the decision-making process in GCS. Any inequality or discriminatory practice which has been found to occur in the organisation will be dealt with by GCS in the appropriate manner, which could include disciplinary action.

Any job advertising that GCS does will be free from bias, and state GCS’ commitment to having an equal and diverse workplace for all of the staff. The job advertisements will be dispersed as widely as possible to give all the relevant people the opportunity to apply. Any interviews or further assessment processes will be based solely on the candidate’s relevance for the job and suitability, rather than any other factors. In job applications, GCS will ask for details about the protected characteristics mentioned above but will ensure that the candidate knows this is for monitoring purposes only, and will not be used to decide on whether the candidate will get a job.

GCS will where possible, always attempt to meet the needs of any disabled counsellors it appoints, by providing accessible online training if it is needed.

GCS will pay all counsellors working on behalf of them equally, and above National Minimum Wage. Any requests that counsellors may have to change their working hours, for family responsibilities or any other good reason, will be considered with regards to GCS’ business and operational needs. These requests should be sent directly to the GCS Directors. GCS will not force any counsellors to retire at the statutory age and will allow them to continue working past this if they so wish.

If any counsellor or client believes they have been discriminated against or treated unfairly, they must submit this grievance to the GCS Directors, who will investigate and review this. Any counsellor who is found to not be complying with this policy will be investigated and disciplined.

GCS must ensure that all staff are aware of this policy and adhere to its requirements, and also ensure that appropriate resources exist to meet the requirements of this policy. GCS directors are responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented in practice. This includes reviewing the policy and the standards of operation, plus providing training and development to ensure the policy is implemented effectively.

Counsellors working on behalf of GCS are responsible for applying this policy in an appropriate manner to their work with clients. All counsellors are also responsible for signing and dating a policy sheet to confirm they have read and understood this policy. Copies of this policy will be available to the counsellors both in a paper copy and electronically.

This policy will be reviewed by GCS every 2 years or in the event of any new legislation.

For any queries regarding GCS’ Equality and Diversity Policy, please contact the GCS directors.

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